Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Yesterday we saw Paul’s transition from general to more specific instruction, and we left off at the end of chapter 4 where it seemed that Paul was really getting to the point that he was describing love among believers as the main priority in Christian living. Now, in the first two verses of chapter five he confirms this impression with his brief comments on love, in what is really a bridge between instructional passages.
When you take these verses in with chapter 4 in mind, they are even more beautiful than when they are quoted alone, as they often are. Why? Because they show us that as we treat others as we should, which is to say that we place their interests and well being ahead of our own, we are actually following God’s example.
We love to think of ourselves as children of God, and Paul takes this thought and brings it into sharp focus pointing out that we express this relationship in following God’s example in the way we live our lives; this is true. Yet we sometimes seem to feel like we are being asked to make sacrifices living for others instead of ourselves. I know I have heard this mentioned by some who are perhaps not having their best of days… yet Paul manages to put even this into perspective in the way he mentions Jesus, reminding us of how Jesus showed His love for us in giving Himself up as a sacrifice for our sin. Thus we can ask, what is the sacrifice we offer in no longer living according to old ways, when compared to the sacrifice Jesus made for each one of us?